The new season of the PBS Kid’s Go! television show DESIGN SQUAD reintroduces its successful ‘Trash To Treasure’ competition with online entries being accepted today through September 5th. In its second year, 25 kids of varying ages, (5–19) and differing skill sets, will be selected and charged with the task of figuring out how to “move things or people, protect the environment,” or create an invention that is to “be used for indoor or outdoor play”… all from trash!

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In February, my son and I (along with another dad and his 5-year-old) entered a conceptual design (in a different design challenge) which was intended to give shelter to Haitians displaced by the recent earthquake. The intention of our exercise was to engage our sons in a bit of social awareness, and we marveled when, with a bit of guidance and insight, they came up with something feasible.

Similarly, ‘Trash To Treasure’ gives an amplified voice to the socially conscious ideas of children. And though the show’s website explains it more simply (“one of the few places on TV where kids can learn about engineering”), last season’s winner created a Buckminster-esque demi-dome from items normally found in the trash in order to provide shelter for the homeless denizens he encounters in his neighborhood.

This year the competition’s three winners will travel to Boston where design consultancy firm, Continuum, will construct the winning concepts. Parents and teachers are encouraged to get involved, and even if you are not interested in coming up with an entry, the site has various eco-conscious projects for parents and kids alike.

Visit DESIGN SQUAD’s ‘Trash To Treasure’ Contest and enter online from April 5th to September 5th, 2010.

+ DESIGN SQUAD